Magic Makarova routs Halep to reach semi-finals

Ekaterina Makarova of Russia hits a return to Simona Halep of Romania during their women's singles quarter-final match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha (AUSTRALIA - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Ekaterina Makarova continued her impressive rise as a grand slam contender by dismantling listless third seed Simona Halep 6-4 6-0 to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open on Tuesday. The 10th-seeded Russian, who made her maiden grand slam semi-final at the U.S. Open last year, leaped on Romanian Halep's serve, breaking her twice in the first set and three times in the second to roar to a 5-0 lead. A shell-shocked Halep was utterly overwhelmed and meekly surrendered the match by crunching a backhand wide of the tramlines after 69 minutes. Makarova will play the winner of Maria Sharapova and Eugenie Bouchard for a place in the final. (Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)